I’ve been visiting junkyards and sharing what I find here on TTAC for several years now, and one of the best things about doing the Junkyard Find series has been reading the crypto-novellas (each a little story about the junkyard car I’ve photographed) penned by our own Crabspirits in the comments. We’ve already talked to Mr. Crabspirits about doing some writing for us under his own byline, and he says he’s up for it, but there’s no need to wait in order to enjoy his stuff. I’ve gone through some recent Crabspirits Junkyard Find Tirades™ and assembled them here for your reading pleasure.
It should go without saying that Crabspirits is a 24 Hours of LeMons racer, and it should also go without saying that his team’s car is one of the head-clutchingest crazywagens in the series: the Charnal House Geo Metro, which features mid-mounted Ford Taurus SHO V6 power. Yes, Señor Crabspirits walks the walk. All right, let’s dive right into the promised Junkyard Find Tirades™!
Here’s a dark vision of Skyhawkian downward mobility from last week’s ’85 Buick Skyhawk wagon Junkyard Find:
Gabe and Darlene were human debris.
Gabe stood up from the choked toilet and pulled his pants up. He didn’t flush, as there was no water available anyway. The windows were thick with flies, and the stench could be cut with a knife. Their vacant, middle class, foreclosed home that the pair had been using for a month was nearly used up. Neighbors had become aware of their presence. Gabe briefly looked in the scum-speckled mirror at his gaunt reflection, and burnt, yellow lip. Best not to look at that. He should have never gotten into this hell. Never should have tried that first rock. Ironically, the very thought of regret made him jones even harder. A crumb of drywall lay on the sink. He glared at the object. There was a fantastical resemblance. “I GOTTA get a rock tonight.”, he thought. He paced around the hot master bedroom and itched. The sparse expanse of white carpet embossed by the furniture that was once there, and littered with drug paraphernalia. Bedsheets hung in front of the windows, attempting to prevent the entry of the hot Denver solar radiation. “Where is that bitch?!”
Gabe filled the pipe with the isopropyl and shook it. “Come on.” He poured the fluid onto a very nice plate left by the former occupants, and lit it. The brief flames lit up the dark, boarded up kitchen. He hurriedly used his razor to scrape up the resin, gathering it into a tiny pellet. He heard the faint drone of the Skyhawk being parked on the street a block away. Darlene was doing her best to hide the rusty eyesore in plain sight, so as not to arouse suspicion. The plywood was pried away that covered the shattered sliding glass door. Darlene crunched the broken fragments as she entered, just as Gabe took the first pull. “You get a hit off of that?”, she said as she grabbed the pipe out of his hands.
The duo climbed into the Buick as a lawn-watering man watched in concern. Their spirits were up. They were definitely going to get high today. The back of the wagon was full of new products still in their packaging. Darlene had turned a trick at the truck stop. She scored a little cash, and had expertly made off with one of the trucker’s credit cards. A spending spree at Target quickly followed.
The 4 cylinder buzzed across town to their favorite pawn shop. The fence took in the Dyson vacuum, Ipod stereo, and various goods with restrained enthusiasm. He gave the addicts $80 for their trouble. The two got back into the J-body and dined on a meal of several Lunchables pulled from a Target sack. “Thanks Kevin Adkins, wherever you are!”, laughed Darlene while looking at the stolen card.
The Skyhawk was in it’s element as it cruised the rough suburbs in search of that sweet candy. It didn’t take long. A group of men resembling 150lb versions of 50cent who waited for apparently nothing were sighted on a street corner. Darlene slowed to a 5mph crawl and waited for the men to notice their suspicious driving demeanor. A gentleman took note, and stared, anticipating their arrival. Darlene accelerated. “Looks like he’s selling.”, she noted.
“Rock?”, asked Darlene of the young man. The hood did not call the legitimacy of the buyers into question as he leaned into the window of the rusty wagon. “Go to the alley behind the bar.”, said the man. As the wagon sped away, the man reached into his pocket and keyed his cellphone covertly.
The Buick pulled up behind the bar. A man quickly appeared.
“I got a yellow pebble. Fifty.”
Darlene handed the dealer $50. The paranoid man handed her an object wrapped in cellophane, then was gone in a flash.
Darlene speed-shifted away from the scene. Gabe unwrapped the plastic and was overjoyed. It looked to be a sweet rock, practically uncut. Darlene diverted her attention back and forth between the road and what was in Gabe’s hand. She pulled over around the next corner. The plastic gift wrap was carefully taken off and jammed into the ashtray. The interior of the Skyhawk strobed like a beacon in the night to the cigarette lighter as hits were pulled. The beacon did not go un-noticed by a passing patrol car. Suddenly, the occupants of the Skyhawk were lit up by a thousand suns. The Crown Vic squawked behind.
Darlene barked the front tires, and bolted away. As she rounded the corner, Gabe tossed the crackpipe to the curb. She up-shifted at full throttle. The squad car kept up at a leisurely pace. “Unwise”, said the officer over the P.A. system. Realizing the getaway attempt was futile, and evidence gone, Darlene slowed to a stop.
“I got a straight shooter back there. I found the rock too.”, said one of the backup officers. “That’s not mine.”, said a curbside Darlene. “Which one of you is Kevin Adkins?”, said the arresting officer while grinning.
Gabe, Darlene, and the Skyhawk parted ways toward their respective fates.
Denny was a pimp….in his mind.
Denny started his day by putting on his requisite athletic gear. He pulled the tags off a fresh white shirt, and put it on. He made a mental note, “Gotta get more of those jams later.” He double locked his apartment, and made his way to the hangout, the stoop of a boarded-up hardware store. Mac and J were there, shouting as usual. “Kobe even said it himself!!” “AWWWW HELL no!!! Now you twistin’ words. Now you twistin’!! Kobe said they in the same room. They equal. They equal [racial expletive].” The two yammered on, segueing into the tired Lebron vs Jordan analysis. A menacing black Lexus lingered a block away, and thumped subwoofers. “This [racial expletive] creepin’.” said J lowly. The LS400 slowly departed. Denny used the nervous silence to break into a new topic. “You guys see the new Lebrons?” Mac and J replied almost in unison, “The PS Elite Crimsons? Yeah, they bad as hell.” Denny stood there target fixated in a state of shoe lust, and played with his white accessory towel while his homies talked more about hoops.
The tinted Lexus glided past a second time. The trio stood their ground toughly, pretending not to pay it any mind while being ready for anything. It was like being in the wild. Predators going after the weak or the fled. Once their facade was deemed satisfactory, and the Lexus gone, Denny made arrangements to meet later for hoops. He departed and pimp-walked to the Bro-Ham. Under a scrabbly tree, the Brough laid in wait, it’s Rolls grill shining in the early afternoon sun. With that grill, Denny be straight. Every day he woke and found the caddy still wearing the grill, was a day to be thankful. Trick ass marks hadn’t even tried to steal it for a whole month.
Upon starting the LT1, Denny noted the low coolant light. He popped the hood and the trunk. As he poured the full-strength Dexcool into the reserve tank, he admired the huge black plastic triangle covering his “Corvette engine”. “She got power”, he thought. For it had that Port Fuel Injection. Much better than regular fuel injection. He put the half-gone jug of coolant back in the trunk. He gently shut the lid, and it motored down tightly. Such was the character of a true luxury car. Denny didn’t feel the trunk closure system as an added gimmick. He figured it was required for the special construction of the trunk. It was probably delicate, and required a special procedure of closure. One that the Cadillac trunk closure system was obliged to handle for him.
Denny sped his way across town to the good mall. He needed those crimson Nikes. Denny had dreams, but he was mostly preoccupied in the here and now, and embraced an illusion of having already achieved those dreams. Being “a pimp”, if you will. Denny one-arm helmed the tiller of the floaty barge. The stereo belted out his theme song, “We started from the bottom, now we here”, as bass rhythmically distorted the view through the mirrors. He accelerated from a intersection, and was faced with a serious problem. The V8 lunged into a 1-2 shudder of misfiring, and the Service Engine Soon lamp illuminated. “Oh hell nah”, he worried. He leaned forward in his sharply reclined seat, and turned off the full-volume Drake. Once the terrible hip hop was silenced, he could make out the random muffled thumps resonating beneath the big plastic Dorito chip of the LT1. “Come on baby.” The low coolant light then joined the SES light in the array.
Denny limped the Caddy straight into the open service bay of a Pep Boys. He had no idea of the procedures when visiting one of these places. A lower tier technician was cut off from pulling in his Diamante. The other technicians all stood there perplexed, and looked at each other. Denny shut the Fleetwood off, and slid out of the seat. He brushed the disintegrating remains of weatherstripping from his bright shirt. He made sure to grab his accessory towel, as if fresh from a workout. He was quickly pointed to the service desk, where he explained his troubles incoherently.
Technicians found the problem in short order. He would need a new water pump. Additionally, the leaking coolant had ruined some sort of Optimus Spark unit. An estimate was presented to Denny totaling roughly $1500. This news triggered a vocal and physical response, a hand gesture that would have conjoined an exclamation of “Awww shucks!” sixty years ago. Except, Denny improved upon it, exclaiming simply, “F^*K!!!”. A technician exited the counter area, and walked back into the shop to laugh.
Now Denny was no sucker. After getting the, now dead, Caddy towed to a second service center, he was ready for a second opinion. He argued the tow bill with the driver, paid in anger, and then went inside. Thankfully, he could go to the nearby mall, while technicians sought out what was surely a trivial matter. He soon received the shock of an identical estimate. He repeated his initial reaction with his full being, as a bag of $260 sneakers hung from one hand.
The tow truck unloaded the dead Brougham under the scrabbly tree. It would have to wait there until Denny could figure out the situation. And wait it did, for a very long time. Denny paid the $100 towing charge to the driver.
The fatwas from the Brougham Jihad not being sufficient to keep Crabspirits from the swift completion of his appointed ranting rounds, here’s one— inspired by this junked ’92 Chrysler Imperial— that should get the mullahs of the K-Car Imperial Jihad just as enraged:
Herbert and Grace were fed up.
“Yep! Yep! There he (Obama) goes again! Uses the government to bail out his buddies with this HARP program, while the kids get the shaft, and can’t refinance!” Herb’s face turned beet red, as he clenched every muscle in his being, attempting to shit out a diamond. “Herb, stop it! Turn that thing off!” Grace had to do something to get him out of the house. These days, fits of stress like this typically culminated in an ambulance visit by EMT’s that knew the couple on a first name basis. “I’m hungry. Let’s go to Eddie’s. We haven’t been there in awhile.” Herbert responded, and grabbed the keys to the Chrysler. “Dammit woman. You’re always hungry, and it’s almost 4′o’clock!”
Although their car was right in front of their home, they had not seen it in nearly a week. “Ohhhhh, that’s just great. Wouldju look at this. The battery’s gonna be deader than shit.” , said a bitter Herb as he perused the stance of the Imperial’s air suspension. It resembled a dog defecating. The V6 slowly cranked over and caught. It had started, but just barely. The air suspension slowly pumped up the rear, and the two set off to get some grub from their longtime favorite diner. The couple soon found themselves in a part of town that vaguely resembled what they remembered. Storefronts were boarded up or vacant. There were ne’er do wells milling about aimlessly. “Look at the Shake Stop.”, noted Grace, upon seeing the new check cashing store. An “illegal” walked out of the store, and got into a highly customized F150. “That’s wonderful. This whole country’s gone tits up!” Grace remained silent in agreement. The couple arrived at what used to be Eddie’s diner. The art deco script neon sign was dim, and half broken by vandals. There was a handwritten note on the door of the lifeless shell. “Thanks for 56 wonderful years!” Herb flew into a hand-waving tirade that included his full vocabulary. Grace looked around for persons nearby. For one, out of embarrassment, and two, for help in case Herb collapsed. Herb, sensing his impending doom if he continued, abruptly calmed. He just shook his head and got back into the dinging Imperial.
The couple quickly lost their bearings in the de-gentrified locale. They stopped for a streetlight. Herb pressured Grace for results as she fumbled with an archaic paper navigational aid known as a map. An African American urban youth appeared at the street corner. He waddled toughly toward the Chrysler with his pants in tow. Herb was mortified. He blew through the red light, nearly running the man and his pants over. “Damn man!”, said the dark-skinned individual. “Don’t just sit there like a bump on a log! Work that thing!”, Herb shouted at Grace. The GPS was a Christmas gift from their kids. “I don’t understand this thing!”, said Grace as she operated the alien touchscreen device. “POI? What’s POI?” “You’re in the damn settings again!!!”
The nose-heavy Imperial softly bounced as it took to the on-ramp. Herb jammed the gas pedal to 1/3 throttle, and the luxury car entered the highway at a blistering 40mph. He guided the chromed prow around a laboring moving van. It was power, sophistication, and pure luxury. Grace voiced her displeasure at her husband’s aggressive driving. Somehow, they had found a Red Lobster across town with the alien tech. Herb already began salivating at the thought of the Cheddar Bay biscuits. The couple arrived, and slowly circled the parking lot several times. They cued at the hostess stand. The restaurant appeared filled to capacity. As they waited, an unattended child ran into Herb, nearly knocking his cane out of his hand. The uncaring little girl ran off as Herb scowled. “It’ll just be 40 minutes sir.” Herb responded with a to-hell-with-this hand gesture, said nothing, and the couple left.
The consolation meal at Olive Garden was wrought with problems with service. Herb enjoyed a low-grade pasta, while Grace complained about her tasteless and salty soup. Herb argued their bill with management for half an hour. As fellow patrons stared, he was gaining the upper hand. The manager cleared $7 from their bill and the couple had achieved satisfaction, leaving puzzled servers in their wake. “Terrible!”, said Herb as he slid into the red velour. The Imperial pumped up. It had a significant yaw motion as it slowly arched across the intersection. The dog dish containing Herb’s leftovers went unnoticed as it slid off the roof, leaving noodles and chicken breast strewn all over the pavement. They were about to miss Dancing With The Stars. Herb fumed at the traffic. He honked the horn at the instant the light turned green to help keep the other motorists sharp. Somehow, they had made it back to the assisted living apartments before the second couple took to the stage. Although uneventful, it was to be the final real drive of the Imperial. The extravagant Chrysler was doomed by indifference and perceived value.
“Where have you guys been?”, said a neighbor.
“We went to eat at Olive Garden. It was wonderful.”, replied Grace.
Then there’s this ’86 Bertone X1/9:
Jeff was a Fiat’s best friend.
Milo barked happily as Jeff fumbled with the can of gourmet dog food displaying his likeness. “Smoked bacon and egg in meaty juices. I can’t think of a better way to start the day. Can you?” The little dog cocked his head to the side quizzically, and rapidly wagged his tail in response. The two ate their breakfast in unison as Jeff thumbed through the paper. “Looks like the surf’s up today”, he noted.
“Want to go to the beach?” Little Milo responded in a way any dog would when asked such a stupid question. Jeff walked out to the extremely corroded vehicle. A very special vehicle for special people, brought to these shores, and blessed by Malcolm Bricklin’s magnificence. He opened the door, which had been crafted with the same precision as a storage shed. Milo bounded inside just before Jeff carefully eased himself into the tiny cockpit. The engine fired right up, but was followed by a disconcerting wind down of the starter drive. While warming the engine, he began the procedure for winding down the windows. The plastic creaked as he exerted intense pressure upon the down button. The window started to wind down. The engine purred from it’s good state of tune, nearly drowning out the sound of the sea. In many ways, it reminded him of being on the flight deck of the Mighty O in the early morning hours, watching the big Phantoms go through their pre-flight check. In the time it took him to reminisce about an entire cruise in the Gulf of Tonkin, he had managed to get his window down. Now for the passenger side…
The Bertone X1/9 was wrought with compromises. This example took it a step farther. For all of Jeff’s effort in making it just drive down the street, he was rewarded with a problematic eyesore with pretentious sporting ability. But…cruising down the shoreline exposed it’s last shred of brilliance. It was such a tactile car. It always brought him back to the days of jean jackets, making this same drive in the, then, shiny red X1/9. The long gone blonde passenger that was looking out the window, now happily replaced by an excited lap dog. Jeff pulled into Lighthouse Beach Park and turned the car off.
Jeff and Milo walked around, and watched the surfers off the point for awhile. The swells were big, and the surfers were getting worked. As they returned to the parking lot, marijuana smoke was thick in the air. There were a group of surfers nearby who were surely behind it. He ignored his displeasure at the drug use by these men in a public park, and thought of them as like-minded. He admired their carefree attitude, and ability to embrace the little joys of life. Because a great many these days, did not. He noticed a long haired surfer having some trouble with a Volkswagen, and offered his assistance. He was unable to help him with his terminally ill diesel, but the upbeat young man was most appreciative anyway, thanking him for his trouble.
As Jeff and Milo reversed out of the parking spot, the Bertone’s gearbox emitted a terrible clatter. Jeff was startled a bit, and attempted to engage 1st gear, which did not happen. Likewise with 2nd gear. As the sun set on the beleaguered sports car limping home, Jeff knew it was the end. He had fixed this problem already once. Nobody would go through that again. He just smiled, pet his terrier, and enjoyed the slow drive home in 3rd gear.
“She put in a good effort, didn’t she?”
Those of us who consider our cars to be living creatures—especially those who happen to be members of the Brown Car Appreciation Society— might want to skip the tale of this doomed ’84 Chrysler New Yorker.
Alec was a Chrysler New Yorker.
“Fasten yoor seat belts”, said Alec as Steve-o backed him down the driveway. He didn’t want to say anything at all, hoping the teen might be ejected out the window onto the pavement in some freak accident that left himself undamaged. At the very least, he could take little Stevie with him if the next round of dangerous driving caught up with him. He was still sour about that whole “drifting” incident over the winter. Some ridiculous maneuver that involved his parking brake, of all things, had left his rear flank horribly scarred and tail light smashed. Stevie picked his nose, and wiped the offending debris on Alec’s carpet. “This is soooo undignified”, he thought digitally.
“Looks like that degenerate is late for work again”, he thought. The gas pedal was mashed to the floor, and Alec groaned like a burro being spurred as he delivered all of 100hp. A P71 interceptor appeared behind Alec. “A policeman! Surely he can save me.” Alec sent the wrong mixture feedback to his carburetor to make his exhaust sooty, and intentionally malfunctioned his turn signal in an effort to gain the officer’s attention. Sadly, the Crown Vic formed up behind a red Kia and pulled it over instead. Nobody noticed the Chrysler anymore.
The executive car chirped into the parking spot in front of the Old Navy, and the teen jumped out. “Don’t foorget YOUR keys”, Alec muttered with sarcasm. “…because I certainly wouldn’t want to be stolen you little twit!”, he added well after Steve-o bolted off.
Alec relieved himself through the valve seals and cover gasket.
That evening, Steve-o returned to the car with a female co-worker. “THAT’S your car?”, she asked. “Yeah!”, said Steve. “It’s a piece of sh#t!” As his engine was started, Alec responded in kind with a smokey blue plume as oil vapors cooked off his motor and entered the cowl vent. Alec carried his passengers behind the Toys R Us loading dock, where some lewd behavior commenced. “If only Mae could see what her grandson has become, God rest her soul.”
Once their romantic interlude was over, Steve shuttled the poor girl back to her car. In an effort to impress, he left his door cracked as he pulled away. Alec felt obliged to show off, uttering “A door is a JAR”. “What does that even mean?!”, said the girl, and the two kids had a chuckle at Alec’s expense. The couple leaned against Alec’s fender and shared their heartfelt goodbyes for the evening.
On the way home, Steve bragged to his friend over the phone about “nailing” the girl. “Such a gentleman”, Alec thought as one of his hubcaps clicked away. The boy sped up to catch the light at the intersection. With his phone still to his ear, the Chrysler pitched hard over, and the tires squealed in protest as he made the right-hander. Alec bounced wildly as he attempted to manage the dip at the apex. A hubcap flew off, and skittered against the median curbing. “You’re going back for that?! Right?!”, he screamed inside. Alec felt a sickness in his gut. The long ignored noise from his timing chain had suddenly grown louder. “Oh god, this is it.”, he thought with dread. The chain departed. Alec could stomach it no more. “Your engine oil pressure is low. PROMPT service is required!” Steve, suddenly faced with the possibility of a serious problem rendering him carless, started caring about Alec’s well being. “Dude, something’s wrong with my car. I might need you to come get me. Yes, I’m serious. It’s saying there’s no oil pressure, but there’s SOME oil in it.”
Alec was towed to an independent repair shop the next day. At last, he would receive some much needed pampering. The mechanic discussed Steve’s options with the repairs necessary. Steve stood there speachless, and stared forlorn at Alec. It was quite an emotional moment. For the first time in a long while, they felt a fondness for one-another.
A flatbed arrived to take Alec away. As the tow cable pulled him up the ramp, Alec thought “Ha, I bet this shop isn’t up to Steve’s standards for taking care of an advanced vehicle such as myself!” He began to dream of all the factory trained service technicians who would soon be making things right with him again. To his surprise, he was delivered to a strange dusty place, where all his putrid fluids were removed. “Ah! A full service!” Then, he was placed on some supports, and waited for a delightful horde of roving technicians to work on him. “This place is wonderful!” A technician removed a front wheel, and carried it off. “You are quite astute! That does require balancing.” Next to him, a band of Jawa-like creatures ravaged a conversion van. “Poor bastard. Looks like he’s given up the ghost.”
“Looks like I’m next in line!”, he thought with glee as the fork loader approached. The loader hit a bump while carrying him, and the off-center load tilted, nearly falling off. “You stupid idiot, you could’ve killed me!!!” Suddenly, he was full of dread. A nearby Mitsubishi screamed in horror. “What is this place?”
Since we know that Crabspirits has a lot of personal experience with brutally mutated Geo Metros, we can assume that this Junkyard Find Tirade™, based on this San Francisco Bay Area El Camino-ized Metro, came from the heart:
Javier was an entrepreneur.
Javier sauntered through the Bay area streets in his Sport Metromino R. He was on his way to his next job site. His Honda-powered Karcher Shark pressure washer jostled around in the “bed”. It was a recent purchase. He was starting a new career in the pressure washing business. He was his own boss, and he was going to make it big. The $600 wally world washer, and $1500 Geo pickup purchased from his wacky cousin were solid investments in capital. If only his fellow newly-minted high school grads could see him now. They were probably still slaving away behind a desk at some sucker job, or didn’t have one at all.
Another fabulous day by the bay. The sound of his angry G10 reverberated through the residential canyons as the twin tailpipes were brought to bear. Another thumbs up and a “Sweet wing!” complement from a passerby. Just a typical commute in the little car. Javier worked his iPhone. “Siri: Where is a vinyl sign store?” After re-posing the question a few times, Siri had some results for him to check out later. He smirked smugly, and was pleased with his personal assistant.
He knocked on the door, and his clients, Dan and Thad came out to greet him. They were unusually gracious and pleased to see him. Then again, he worked through Craigslist, he encountered all sorts. The two men giggled and clapped at the sight of his little cruck as he unloaded the equipment. They wanted the siding washed on the side of the house only. The strange thing was, it wasn’t dirty. He began to wash anyway, working his way toward the backyard and trees. Dan and Thad appeared behind the wet sliding glass door. They were watching him work, but seemed more interested in something toward the rear of the house, as if expecting something to happen. As Javier washed the soffit at the back, it became apparent he had a huge problem. Hundreds, no, thousands of africanized honeybee bastards streamed from a crack in the soffit. He tried in vain to wash-kill them as they began their blitz attack. He went to shut off the washer, but discovered the vibrating engine coated in a confused swarm of lethality. He abandoned his equipment and led a hasty retreat.
Javier took a lunch break. Several hours later, the little Honda engine, it’s fuel expended, stalled out and the swarm began to dissipate. Dan and Thad played dumb. Javier said he was done here, and suggested an exterminator. He quickly gathered his washer while enjoying a few stings. “This is f—–g GAY!”, he exclaimed. His clients were not amused. They threw him a twenty for his trouble and told him to “Please leave.” It was a rough day for the Javier Cleaning Corporation.
The back of the lightly-weighted Mettruck bounced away from the scene. It was about to get worse for poor Javier. He coasted rather quickly down a steep hill. “Siri: Find me a….” He stopped talking to his secretary in order to concentrate on some heavy braking. As soon as the brakes were fully applied, it was obvious something was very wrong with the little Geo. The heavily rusted achilles heel of all Metros, the lower control arm mount, gave out.
“POP! Bang-bang-bang-bang-bang SCRRRREEEEEE!”
As the control arm tore loose, the CV joint ripped apart, spewing grease as the misfit axle beat the hell out of nearby components. The steering wheel flew out of Javier’s unencumbered hand, and the economy pod veered wildly to the right, smashing into a parked Subaru.
“Siri:Call triple A”